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Saturday, May 25, 2024

India vs Australia

There is generally a political undertone in every sporting rivalry. Border tussles, years of geo-political turmoil and historical events pave the way for modern-day sporting rivalries. It is the same in cricket. India vs Pakistan, Australia vs England. Australia vs New Zealand... All these great on-field rivalries have stemmed because of already existing differences due to other issues. India vs Australia is perhaps the only rivalry which doesn't fit in this category. It is the only contest in cricket that has been created solely because of the game. India and Australia have no real political tussle, their paths have rarely crossed in history. As far as economic relations are concerned, they are fairly cordial. But on the cricket field, things are different. Whenever India and Australia face each other on the cricket field, it feels personal; a contest between two countries at loggerheads for long.

The graph of India-Australia rivalry also signifies the growth of Indian cricket in many ways. For the better part of the 19th century, it was a one-sided contest. Australia only considered India a threat when they toured here. In all other venues, they had a resounding upper hand. Sample this: between 1947 and 1999, India had won only three Tests against Australia away from home. Two of them came during the 1977 tour when Australia were forced to pick a third-string side led by comeback man Bob Simpson at the age of 41 as about two dozen of their first-choice cricketers signed for the rival Kerry Packer league. And yet, India lost the series 2-3. In their following tour in 1981, they had to be content with a solitary victory. For the next two decades, India failed to win a single Test in Australia.

The numbers in ODIs were nothing to be proud of. India's victories were few and far between, with exceptions like the Coca Cola Cup in Sharjah and the Titan Cup. The head-to-head record stood 24-13 in Australia's favour till 1999 in ODIs played outside of India.

It is difficult to pinpoint which series or tournament sparked the change but the majority of the experts point towards 2001. The historic series which saw it all. Sourav Ganguly's fearless brigade halted Australia's formidable streak of 16 consecutive Test wins. Although it was played in India, where they were always the stronger side even against the best of teams, this watershed moment marked a turning point, ushering in a new era of parity between the two cricketing giants. The way India came back to win the Kolkata Test after conceding a follow-on riding on the back of a marathon partnership between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid has become a part of cricketing folklore.

The following decade bore witness to gripping contests that transformed the India vs Australia duels into battles of equals. Notably, it was the indomitable MS Dhoni who etched his name in history by guiding India to its first-ever ODI (tri)-series victory against Australia in 2008. What was once a lop-sided affair had evolved into a rivalry that stood on a knife's edge, captivating fans and enthusiasts across the globe.

The mid-90s brought with it a significant elevation in the intensity of the India-Australia rivalry with the introduction of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. This prestigious Test series added a new layer of meaning to the battle, propelling India as a formidable contender to Australia's cricketing kingdom.

The real show of India's dominance came during their tours of 2018-19 and 2020-21. Kohli became the first Indian captain to lead his side to a Test series victory on Australian soil. A couple of years later, stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane did the same. Rising on the high of consecutive Test series triumphs Down Under, India emerged as a strong threat to Australia's kingdom.

Within the realm of these captivating encounters, moments of sheer brilliance have illuminated the rivalry. The enthralling tied Test in Chennai (formerly Madras) stands as a testament to the intensity that encapsulates these clashes. A young Sachin Tendulkar's masterclass at the WACA, Ricky Ponting's scintillating 140 in the 2003 World Cup final, Nathan Lyon's mesmerizing spell dismantling the Indian batting lineup at Adelaide 2014 – a match in which Virat Kohli notched centuries in both innings – and the iconic 'Desert Storm' of 1998, wherein Tendulkar reached the pinnacle of batting excellence, all contribute to the rich tapestry of moments etched in the India vs Australia rivalry.

Rohit Sharma's India and Pat Cummins-led Australia added another chapter to the glittering rivalry in the World Cup 2023 final in Ahmedabad, and the latest is set to kick off from November 23, 2023.

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India vs Australia FAQ

  • When is the India vs Australia T20I series starting?

    The T20I series between India and Australia is starting on November 23, 2023

  • How many matches will be played in the India vs Australia T20I series?

    Five T20I matches will be played in the India vs Australia series

  • What are the venues for the India vs Australia T20I series?

    The India vs Australia T20I series will be played across five venues - Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, Raipur and Bengaluru?

  • What is India's squad for the T20I series against Australia?

    India's T20I squad for Australia series: Suryakumar Yadav (Captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad (vice-captain), Ishan Kishan, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Shivam Dubey, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar.

  • Who are the two captains in the India vs Australia T20I series?

    Suryakumar Yadav will captain India while Australia will be captained by Matthew Wade